Month: May 2023 (Page 1 of 2)

Van Build Part 4 Second Stage Insulation

Started the second stage insulation today. 10mm foam with backing. Sticks much easier than the stuff that was sold years ago. Great products from Car Builders. Will probably have 24 sheets of sound deadener left and a full box of 10mm foam.

The view from the Antarctic cafe for breakfast

Not a bad effort for a guy with a f*ked knee, two fu*&d shoulders and a Fu&ed back. However Im back on the heavy meds at the end of the day.

Van Build Part 3 Stage 1 Insulation

Stage 1 insulation, the sound deadener. Been keeping myself busy plodding along with filling in the deadener while waiting on my mate to finish up on his projects. Have started cutting stage 2 insulation the foam to fit over the top.

The above is why I drove all the way to Tasmania to have a boat builder work on my van furniture. At the moment were thinking of using Celery Top timber for the bench-top due to stability and weight and using a live edge with a laminated sassafras top for the grain structure. The above is Huon Pine epoxy pour matt black epoxy finish part of an upcoming exhibition, where the ancient meets the modern. Huon Pine only grows in Tasmania and was traditionally used in boat building. (Lagarostrobos franklinii).

Esse Junglas Mods Part 3

Too wet today to work on my van, decided to do some knife work instead and stripped the Esse Junglas, ready to patina.

handle off ready to paint strip
after paint removed and scrapped
still left a grey finish that required a scotch brite wheel belt to remove
showing the difference between the finishes
scotch brite belt
fully stripped ready to dip
ferric acid bath first followed by coffee dip
finished piece sitting on an unfinished Huon Pine coffee table. May give it another dip as yet but its a user.

Setting Up New Rapid Ridge-line System

Trying out Dave Canterbury’s new ridge-line system using toggles.

toggles 100mm long
carving and debarking the tea tree wood
setting up the prusic loops to tension the tarp
using a figure 8 instead of a bowline
almost forgot the last loop for the anchor point
takes seconds to deploy
holds tension very well

Rapid Ridge-line System ? It works really well but it did take me 2 hours to put together. With finding the cordage, trying a figure 8 loop, double stopper knots, prusic knots, larkshead knots and double fisherman’s knots. Carving, cutting and drilling the tea tree. Id still like to adjust the prusic loops to be shorter to prevent tangling. Ive also used a figure 8 instead of the standard bowline, it doesn’t come undone with the 750 cord that I use for oilskin tarps over the 550 cord. Ive also used 4 prusic loops with toggles, 2 for the ends and 2 for the center loops of the tarp.

EDIT 25th May

Have redone the loops using 3mm paracord instead of hootchie cord. Less tangles this way, I also don’t like using bank-line for the same reason. I started off with two lengths of 300mm I’m now using two lengths of 250mm or 500mm in total lengths. I see many people using the same diameter cordage for the ridge-line as for the prusics, this doesn’t work.

loop size comparison
finished showing half sized loops to previous version
3mm tactical 3 strand vs hootchie cord

3mm Tactical

Van Build Part 2

Leaving Geelong on the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry

Arrived in Tasmania after a hectic night of the ferry turning around for a medical emergency, then a storm front. Sea sick from 130am until reaching port and four hours over due. GPS sent me through the wrong route and ended up going through the central highlands. I was told a few hours earlier it was minus 3 cel and snowing.

The roads through the highlands aren’t particularly wide. One small bridge the on coming traffic has to give way and a small yellow car didn’t give way to me and I had to swerve into the bunting to avoid taking it out. The on lookers said they were amazed I didn’t roll the van. Brand new front tyre now has a four inch slash. I was stuck there an hour, several people stopped to see if they could help. The last vehicle having a long enough breaker bar and sockets to remove the rim. That’s one thing about Tasmania, people will stop to help out. Thx guys! I had the entire van packed with building materials and had left my tools at home thinking it was all going to be carpentry. No sockets, 1/2 inch rattle gun or breaker bar. The jack supplied with vehicle didn’t work and the old breaker bar only fitted the old 16 inch rims. Even if the jack had worked it wouldn’t have fitted under the vehicle with a flat tyre. Never going any where again without my tools.

Workshop cleaned out and the van empty. Couldn’t ask for a better view when working.

Today’s job strip the wall paneling, the rubber flooring and carpet.

Only jobs left to do today are pull up the tie down points with a torque wrench and move the paneling to the storage area out of the weather.

wire brushing the floor for the next few hours

Taking a short break taking photographs of Bruny Island

the water is so clear here

Armadillo Merino Kojak Beanie

Light Olive colour

Ive been gradually swapping out my polar-fleece clothing with merino or doing a layering system with merino base layer, polar fleece mid-layers and heavy wool outer layers. My armadillo Merino Kojak Beanie turned up today and I haven’t taken it off since placing it on my head. My polar fleece beanies when they get wet they stay wet and stay wet for days.

Hobo Hand-lines

I’m always on the look out for alternative fishing methods and have liked the idea of hobo hand lines however I keep missing out on the timber models for sale on etsy. I have made the versions out of PVC pipe just to spend the weekend doing a project but have decided to get a little serious about my fishing. I have tried the Yoyito and like it but have replaced the line with an old fly line to make it easier on the hands. Id also like to try the Exotac version. Today I came across a company that just makes and sells hobo hand lines called Dagger Fish on the of all things called the Hobo Handliner Channel. These are more traditional in nature compared to the other brands mentioned.

Ive liked carrying a hand line with me when working in bush-land settings near streams. Its been a great way to spend a lunch break or waiting for crew to turn up. Between the Daggerfish, Yoyito and Exotac there’s sure to be something to suit a bushcrafter looking for a feed of fish.

Hobo Handliner Channel

Daggerfish channel




Never Alone: A Solo Arctic Survival Journey by Woniya Dawn Thibeault

Another for the reading list:

Woniya Thibeault wasn’t looking for an adventure of such magnitude, but when the opportunity to participate in Alone(R) Season 6 fell into her lap, she couldn’t say no. Never Alone is the story of that journey.

Dropped into the Arctic wilderness-solo-as winter descended, Woniya intended not only to survive, but to thrive. With only a few tools and meager resources, she would need her survival skills, quick wits, and whole heart to make it through.

The skids scraped against the hard granite as the helicopter settled onto the barren peninsula. My fingers were shaking so badly from the adrenaline, it was hard to unbuckle my chest straps. Then, with one step down the ladder, I left the modern world and the rest of humanity behind.

I expected the land to be harsh and unforgiving, but I didn’t expect that it would be so breathtaking.

Nor that I would fall instantly in love with it.

The northern wilderness kicked my butt repeatedly throughout the next three months, but each time it picked me back up, staggered me with its beauty, and showed me again how truly resilient I am.

My Arctic adventure could easily have been a grueling struggle, but by putting my trust in myself and the land, it instead became a beautiful journey to a deeper sense of connection and belonging.

In her debut memoir Never Alone: A Solo Arctic Survival Journey, Woniya shares how months of starving by herself in the Arctic wilderness brought more healing than suffering, and led to a deep sense of belonging and peace. Her story affirms the incredible strength of the human spirit and shows us that strength comes in many surprising forms. Never Alone’s message is one of inspiration and learning to trust in ourselves and the land around us; embracing the wild and being wholly and beautifully human, flaws and all.

Never Alone will take you on an Arctic journey through challenges and triumphs, joys and heartbreaks, and leave you inspired and wanting more.

About the Author

Never quite at home in the modern world, WONIYA THIBEAULT was always drawn to wild places and the skills our ancestors used to thrive there, and driven by a desire to honor the natural world and to feel at home in and be a part of it. Woniya’s master’s degree in science and decades spent honing land-based living skills taught her how to live long-term in the wilderness, using the natural resources it provides. Three years after the solo challenge chronicled in Never Alone, seen on Season 6 of the Alone(R) series on The history Channel(TM), Woniya was invited to compete in an even more rugged spin-off series, Alone(R) Frozen, where she made history. With this second Alone(R) journey, Woniya made history in two ways: across her two stints in the wild she set a new record for cumulative days on an Alone(R) solitary wilderness survival challenge and also became the first woman to win one. Another memoir, about that journey, is in the works.

Water Purification Tablets And Oven Bags

I was taking a break between packing, vehicle repairs, loading firewood, etc by going through the Live Ready channel and catching up on clips by Fieldcraft Survival. I have several water filters for traveling and hiking and had never really considered carrying water purification tablets, until watching a clip where Kevin Estela takes students out on a 72 hour challenge surviving off nothing else but contents of a zip lock bag.

The bushcraft courses in Australia teach to use a filter bag (Brown Bag) and boiling.

On the Live Ready channel it showed how to use an oven bag to boil water. It just got me thinking that along with bin liners, oven bags may be another good item to carry along with purification tablets.

Keven Estela is one of those instructors Id like to put on my wish list of people Id like to train with, especially the 72 Hour Challenge.

One thing that no one shows you when boiling water in plastic is cooling down the bags to drink from, how many times a plastic bag can be used to boil from and how to drink from one easily. (This is when you have no water bottles available in a survival situation.) Very few also show pre-filtering with a bandana.

Aquatabs vs Micropur

Both kill Viruses , Bacteria and Giardia but only the Micropur kill Cryptosporidium but only after 4 hours. It is also 4 times as expensive. Which would I carry ? Both! Use the Aquatabs when you know there’s no Cryptosporidium and have the Micropur on hand when there may be the chance of greater infection. The Aquatabs also only take 30 minutes to work.

Aquatabs Water Purification Tablets

Aquatabs water purification tablets are our pick for traveling to a location where clean drinking water is a legitimate concern thanks to the variety of water-borne diseases these effectively treat.

Key Features

Quantity: 100 individually packaged tablets

Time: One tablet purifies up to 22 ounces of water in 40 minutes

Active ingredient: Sodium dichloroisocyanurate


Low-profile wrappers take up minimal space and travel well

Effectively purifies smaller bottles of water

Very affordable for a large number of tablets


Wrappers are not easily recyclable

Not suitable for long-term daily use

Aquatabs water purification tablets are ideal for traveling as well as for outdoor activities and emergency preparedness thanks to their ability to kill 99.99 percent of Giardia cysts, cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and other water-borne diseases. The tablets dissolve quickly and result in clean-tasting water in just 40 minutes. Tablets are individually packaged to preserve freshness and have a 4- to 5-year shelf life. Aquatabs tablets are EPA-registered and meet NSF/ANSI standards.

Aquatabs is headquartered in Ireland, and its parent company Kersia is ISO 9001 and GMP certified (for quality management practices). The company works with local partners and NGOs to bring sustainable water disinfection solutions to target communities struggling with access to fresh water.

Katadyn Micropur M1 Purification Tablets

Katadyn Micropur M1 purification tablets have a lightweight and low-profile packaging that fits in the tiniest space in your pack. Plus, they don’t leave you with an unpleasant aftertaste.

Key Features

Quantity: 30 individually packaged tablets

Time: One tablet purifies one liter of water in four hours

Active ingredient: Chlorine dioxide


Low-profile foil wrappers take up minimal space

Protects against several bacteria and viruses

Minimal taste


Longer purification time

Not suitable for long-term daily use

The Katadyn Micropur M1 Purification Tablets result in fresh-tasting water that is effective against several types of microorganisms, bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and cysts—including Cryptosporidium. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the woods around a basecamp and don’t need the tablets to be immediately purified, these EPA-registered tablets are a great choice. The longer purification time (four hours) means that you’ll need to treat them at the campsite or in your car while you’re out exploring, but you’ll come back to clean drinking water without an aftertaste.

Katadyn is a brand under The Katadyn Group, a global corporate group headquartered in Switzerland (although the tablets are produced in Germany) with a broad portfolio covering self-sufficient nutrition and drinking water supply. The brand participates in humanitarian and emergency relief efforts around the world by offering water purification and filtration systems.

the best way Ive seen to hold the bag when boiling

I included wet weather fire lighting here to show Kevins teaching style, his attitude is infectious.

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